Facility Focus (Learning Studio and Classroom Design)
Northwood University: Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management
Northwood University dedicated the Richard DeVos
Graduate School of Management
building in May 2016. The newly
constructed, 26,800-square-foot facility on
the university’s Midland, MI, campus offers
state-of-the-art learning and administrative
spaces for graduate-level programs.
Construction took approximately one year
to complete. The building is named for
Richard and Helen DeVos, noted entrepreneurs,
civic leaders and philanthropists.
The facility was designed to model
a modern workplace and maximize
the problem-based learning methodology
that is hallmark to all of Northwood
University’s programming. Large, flexible
classrooms with fully integrated technology,
adjacent breakout rooms, laboratories
and lounges provide learners with a variety
of spaces conducive to independent, group
and classroom study. The building also
has space for more than 20 offices for the
graduate school’s faculty, administrative
staff and admissions department.
Classroom spaces feature desks and
chairs on wheels, as well as movable walls,
to accommodate large and small group
dialogue. Smaller breakout rooms allow for
students to study, work on group projects
and presentations or debate a solution
to a case study they have been assigned.
Whiteboards adorn every wall to capture
brainstorming ideas and technology in
the building is cutting edge, as are the
computer lab and student lounge.
According to designers at TowerPinkster
Architects|Engineers of Grand Rapids, the
building’s architecture provides an “expressive
beacon” at the campus’s northwest
corner, “embodying the university’s spirit of
leadership and opportunity.” The building’s
elements of glass, stone and masonry reflect
interior spatial organization. It features
a two-story lobby and a central, contemporary
stair layout that’s articulated with
reclaimed wood cladding and glass handrails.
The facility is designed to achieve
LEED Silver certification, utilizing the latest
technologies in energy-efficient and cost-effective
materials and systems.
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.